[dropcap]O[/dropcap]N April 17, 2018, The Pune Police raided the homes of several intellectuals and activists in Nagpur, Mumbai and Delhi for their involvement in the Bhima Koregaon riots. At the protest organized against the arrestsin Mumbai on May 3, 2018, advocate Abdul Wahid Shaikh made a spontaneous and moving speech. This is Part 2of the speech:
Excuses in favour of Swami Aseemanand
The reason for this was stated to be the non-provision of any legal services to him. Of course, Swami Aseemanand did have his own lawyer, so he had the means to defend himself. However, when he was being taken to the magistrate for his confession, it was the NIA that recorded the statement, and not the police. So I am not going to buy the reason that they gave for rejecting that confession.
Secondly, after recording his statement, Aseemanand was sent back to the police custody, and thirdly, he was in the custody of the police when his confession was taken. So, I don’t agree with any of the excuses that have been given.
Now let me mention here that in my case when our confessions had been recorded, all three of these factors did not exist. While taking down my confession, the Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) Mumbai recorded a false statement. In fact, I would go ahead and say that the ATS fed that particular confession statement to the DCP. In the DCP’s office, the DCP himself took matters in his hands, beat me up, and forced me to sign that false statement. He said that he would make me sign it by hook or by crook, and if I didn’t agree, I would be taken to another DCP. And if I refuse to comply still, then they said that they would double up torture inflicted upon me until I sign. That is how I was made to put my signature on that false statement. At the time, neither my lawyer was present nor was I in the police custody. In such circumstances, why did the court accept my confession statement? Because I am a Muslim? And because, of course, Swami Aseemanand belongs to an upper caste?
Secondly, the police stated that Swami Aseemanand was residing in Uttarakhand under the alias of Swami Omkar. There, he fabricated two documents. Firstly, he had created a fake ration card in the name of Swami Omkar. Further, he had also generated his voter ID card in that name. The NIA had seized these items from him while arresting him. Despite finding several thousand rupees, a ration card, a voter’s ID, and an e-ticket for a journey from Ujjain to Haridwar on him, the court said that the NIA did not make any efforts to prove whether the documents were valid or not. The fake ration card was full of forged signatures, but this evidence was not sent to the forensic department for verification.
That is why I refuse to believe that the ration card belonged to him. I also refuse to believe that the voter ID card is his. I don’t buy it that he was hiding there under the said alias. And meanwhile, the e-ticket found on him had been booked in the name of Swami Aseemanand only. The court had also questioned that if indeed he was hiding and had adopted a fake name, then why did he book an e-ticket in his real name? All of these factors make it very difficult for me to believe that the story narrated by the police, the NIA had any truth in it.
The DCP himself took matters in his hands, beat me up, and forced me to sign that false statement. He said that he would make me sign it by hook or by crook, and if I didn’t agree, I would be taken to another DCP. And if I refuse to comply still, then they said that they would double up torture inflicted upon me until I sign. In such circumstances, why did the court accept my confession statement? Because I am a Muslim? And because, of course, Swami Aseemanand belongs to an upper caste?
Next, the police had also alleged that Swami Aseemanand is a member of RSS and that he was notorious for making provocative speeches. This is the statement that the police had submitted to the court. Yet the court stated that the police did not present any individual witness in the court to prove the accusation of provocative speeches. On top of that, the court also questioned police that since RSS is not a banned organisation, how could someone be called anti-national, merely for being a member of RSS? This is how all the sentences have been passed in this case.
The false accusations continue
Now consider the allegations against me, I have been accused of being an activist working for SIMI, the Students Islamic Movement of India. The accusations had first been made in 2001, and then again in 2006. It was also alleged that I am completely anti-national and that I participate in terrorist activities to create law and order problems.
In 2001, a ban was imposed on SIMI because the organisation was involved in bomb blasts, and provoked people through public speeches. What evidence does the police have to prove this? All they have is a notification issued by the Central Government. The state government published that notification and used it against us. However, in 2008, Justice Geeta Mittal of Delhi High Court stated that the ban imposed on SIMI was invalid, and she lifted the ban. Do you know what happened after that?
The Central Government knocked on the door of the judge the same night. Several people fail to get bail. There are so many whose mothers are ailing, whose wives, children are sick, and yet the judges don’t have the time to release them for a couple of hours on parole. The judiciary is that corrupt. But to turn around the SIMI verdict, the hearing was held at the judge’s dining table at midnight. It wasn’t the government that banned SIMI between the years 2008 and 2018, the court did. I think that makes it easy to deduce where our courts are headed. We need to know how the courts work, what language they understand.
Mecca Masjid: The crucial link that the call data records provided
Along with the rest, the Mecca Masjid case also involved CDR (Call Data Record). The mobile phone used in the bomb blasts belonged to the Nokia company, and its model number was 6030. These mobile phones were bought and used to communicate by those involved. They were also used in the functioning of the bombs.
The NIA had asked for this CDR. Swami Aseemanand’s people were found to be involved in the bomb blasts at Ajmer, Rajasthan as well. The ATS extracted the CDR, and NIA Rajasthan demanded those documents. The CDR made it clear that the numbers were linked, and calls had been exchanged between them, a day before as well after the bomb blasts. All these CDR documents had been presented before the court. But the court rejected that evidence stating that the documents are not legitimate since the NIA had not askedthe nodal officer of the mobile company to verify the submitted documents.
Even the police knew that was a very minor detail. These minor details had deliberately been ignored so that the accused, Aseemanand could easily walk free.
There was a police line-up (identification parade) even in my case. I can produce before you the response that I acquired from the jail to prove that the accused had not been identified amongst those standing in the line-up. However, the court still refused to accept the RTI response as evidence and passed the death sentence against us. Do you see what was happening there?
Apart from this, in the Mecca Masjid blasts, one of the Nokia 6030 mobile phones used was found to have been bought in Haryana. However, the court refused to accept the statement of the shopkeeper from whose shop the phone was bought. Although that shopkeeper recognised Swami Aseemanand, the court rejected his witness.
We were willing to sell our kidneys so that the truth would set us free
Now let us take a look at my case. Here, 12 of the people accused are innocent. There was no phone connection between them ever. The locations of all of us too were tracked and found to be quite far away from the locations of the blasts. But the police kept the CDR and other mobile records secret. We took this to court and fought. Then Justice Thipsay (Ed: former Bombay High Court judge, Abhay M Thipsay) ordered the police to first present a copy of CDR, before deciding on whether we should live or not. The copy was brought to the court, and so was the nodal officer. However, the nodal officer demanded Rs 1,35,000 from us, in exchange for the information and his statement. At that point, we were willing to sell even our kidneys to pay him, so that the truth could be out and finally be set free.
See, the judicial process has become so expensive, that availing them is almost a luxury for the common man. In the end, the nodal officer did come to give his statement before the court, that our names and the said mobile numbers did not match. But the court still didn’t approve of it, and the whole CDR was discarded. The court said that because the CDR had been extracted from the computers after so many years, they might have been compromised, and that’s why the court could not trust those documents. This is what happens in our country. You all need to see this.
After making a false case against me, full efforts were made that despite presenting such strong evidence and witnesses, no one could be released. The story told in our case was that the bomb had been placed in a pressure cooker. Out of the eight pressure cookers bought, seven were used for bombs, and the eighth one was kept for use at home. And yet, the cooker found by the police was magically found to be an eight-year-old one. The police seized the cooker along with chickpeas cooking inside it. There was no statement regarding where the cookers were bought from, or any other information regarding those cookers. Yet the court could easily believe that the cookers hosted the bombs, and the verdict was passed against the people involved.
My friends, there was a police line-up (identification parade) even in my case. I can produce before you the response that I acquired from the jail to prove that the accused had not been identified amongst those standing in the line-up. However, the court still refused to accept the RTI response as evidence and passed the death sentence against us. Do you see what was happening there?
Muslim youth are left in such a bad state that they are in no condition to do something for the community. They are afraid that if they try to do something for the welfare of the community, the police would arrest them. Wherever I go, during all my tours, the police follow me like my shadow. They record whatever I say, on audio as well as video, and write reports on the same.
I would like to narrate a recent incident to you. The publication house that published my book – Faros Publication, New Delhi – has also published several books regarding the RSS. There was a book exhibition in Kishanganj. The RSS goons had occupied this exhibition throughout, glared at my book vendors and publisher, and warned them against exhibiting or selling the books. To avoid any commotion and violence, the publisher took the books out and left a piece of paper in their place which said that the books had been withdrawn following orders from the RSS. The goons again threatened us and asked us to get rid of that paper as well. This time, we did not budge and said that the paper will remain there, no matter what they do. So in this country, we cannot sell the books that are in fact in demand, our books, as well, are not tolerated here.
A tutored David Colin Headly
I am sure you all must have heard David Colin Headly’s name. He is the prime accused in the 26/11 attacks in Mumbai and is presently in American custody. India has been unable to acquire his custody till date. His statements are recorded through video conferencing. And you will be shocked to see what those statements are, and what they are taken for. – only to protect Amit shah and company; only to prove that Amit Shah and company were not involved in the Ishrat Jahan encounter. And it was evident during his media conferencing statement before the court, that the two advocates accompanying his were telling him what to say and what not to say. It seemed like he was tutored not to take the names of Ishrat Jahan or Amit Shah. Here, an international criminal has been forsaken in the name of 26/11 attacks, just to save the skin of the people like Amit Shah, who have murdered in the name of encounters.
To conclude, I would just like to state one thing. There are two communities that instigate fights, and wherever they live, peace ceases to exist. Because these communities uphold the racial divide – one of these communities is Yehudi, while the other is Brahmin. Even Yehudis believe that no one can acquire their religion unless they are born into it. They believe that they are superior to all, and the others are nothing but their slaves.
The same point of view is shared by Brahmins as well, and it is through this view itself, that they continue to target others. Because they believe that others are inferior to them. They have made the others walk with a broom tied to their backs, spit in a pot, and denied entry into the temples, all because they believe that the others, but them, belong to an inferior caste. They want the others to be their slaves, and if you try to rebel, they will be ready to finish you. And do you know who comes between the two of you? It’s the Muslims.
Read Part 1 of the speech here: Caste and religion and the role of the judiciary – Part 1
That is why, they are out to target Muslims first, to finish the Muslims. That is the situation in India. How will those who cannot speak for their own good, raise their voice for others? Muslim youth are left in such a bad state that they are in no condition to do something for the community. They are afraid that if they try to do something for the welfare of the community, the police would arrest them. Wherever I go, during all my tours, the police follow me like my shadow. They record whatever I say, on audio as well as video, and write reports on the same.
All they want is this work that I do to stop. They want people to be fearful of them all the time, and never even leave their homes. They never want the tortures inflicted upon us in prison to come to light. However, there is one thing that was taught to me, and that I believe with all my heart, that the real strength, the real crusade (dharmayuddha) lies in telling only the truth and nothing else right to the face of a tyrant, a cruel ruler. I need your support in this. I pray to Allah that he would give us the strength to understand all of this and would give us the courage to show concern for things around us. I hope that he gives us the conscience to fight fiercely against the tyrants. Peace be with you!